After tweeting and posting thousands upon thousands of fun quips, kudos, and inspirations for brand after brand, I still can’t help but smile or even chuckle sometimes when what I
I couldn’t head into 2013 without some reflection of a few of the fantastic films of 2012! Some years are hit or miss, but this year was hit after hit. I know that in this digital age, not everyone goes to “the movies” anymore. But I’m a sucker for cinema.
I still have not seen all the films that were on my list this year including “Django Unleashed“, “Les Miserables“, and the two current favorites for Best Picture which are “Silver Linings Playbook” and “The Master.” But I’ll share with you my favorites as well as some that were just okay. I’d love to hear what everyone else thinks!
(Disclaimer: I saw these in the theater in 2012 but some were considered to be 2011 films.)
#1 The Intouchables
Hands down, the very best film I saw this year was “The Intouchables” which I saw twice and would see again. I hadn’t seen a film that touched me like this since “Biutiful” in 2010. This was a French film based on the true story of a wealthy man and his unlikely friendship with his caregiver. Actors, François Cluzet and Omar Sy had so much chemistry that I actually believed this story was unfolding before my eyes rather than being acted out. That’s all I will tell you. I won’t give anything away in this blog but I will tell you that I have high expectations when it comes to film and am not easily amused. Oh, and by the way, if you didn’t see “Biutiful,” it’s an absolute must. Get it. Watch it. Love it.
#2 The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Some describe “Perks” as a coming of age film, but it was pretty heavy for this genre. I’m not one to censor much of what my 14-year-old son watches, but I would think twice about sending him to this one without following up or prefacing the film with some discussion about drugs, drinking, suicide, and sexual abuse. That said, I thought it was a realistic depiction of the dynamics of high school misfits and the challenges that face teens of every generation even though this story took place in the era of “mixed tapes.” What is it they say? The more things change, the more they stay the same? If this movie had hit the mainstream, it could have had some real staying power and become a teen classic. This may remain on my top ten list for years to come.
#3 Killer Joe
Holy chicken legs! I had mistakenly relegated Matthew McConaughy to the good-looking one-trick pony who occasionally got a decent role but this year, he knocked my socks off. His performance as Killer Joe was nothing short of outstanding. I have to warn you that this film was rated NC-17 but frankly, I didn’t find it to be so utterly offensive or violent. I suppose I’ve become desensitized but it wasn’t so bad. Our friendly silver-haired box office attendant had given us fair notice that we could only request a refund within the first 20 minutes of the film, which was really quite comical since there isn’t anything that happens in that 20 minutes that would make you want to leave or even expect that you might get there. Nonetheless, this flick offers comedy, intrigue, suspense, drama, shock, and phenomenal performances all the way around.
Speaking of Matthew McConaughy and killer roles, he played the hell out of prosecutor, Danny Buck in this witty true comedy about Bernie. I don’t know of any other true crime story that will make you laugh the way Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine, and McConaughy will in this one. Between the incredible cast and the townspeople interviews, you will grow to love Bernie, hate Danny Buck, and root for the bad guy.
#5 Moonrise Kingdom
I’m sure I don’t have to tell you about this one. Moonrise Kingdom is funny, smart, quirky, and downright adorable. I can’t imagine an audience who wouldn’t enjoy this film.
#6 Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
It was a predictable, yet fun little tale of several retirees coming together to live out their days in India at the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Enjoyable, worth seeing.
#7 Hello I Must Be Going
A divorcee’s experience of finding her true self and learning what love really is while earning the respect of her doting parents. I enjoyed this story very much. The characters were likable, the sentiment real, and the outcome inspiring. A classic chick-flick best shared with your girlfriends and over a bottle of wine and some Ben & Jerry’s.
#8 Jeff, Who Lives at Home
Not everyone liked this one, but I found it interesting. I like a metaphysical story line with a point. If you’re searching for the meaning of life or just appreciate seeing what typecast actors like Ed Helms can do when given a chance, you’ll enjoy “Jeff, Who Lives at Home.”
#9 Ruby Sparks
Ruby Sparks was a refreshing romantic comedy. Unexpected and new. This was a cute story and one that was told in a way that hasn’t been done a thousand times before. This could go either way for you but I thought it was worth seeing.
#10 Beasts of the Southern Wild
Gosh, what can I say? Beast of the Southern Wild was…well…weird. I enjoyed it but I didn’t always “get” it. I loved the characters and the cinematography. And I sort of loved the story even though, I was not quite sure of the point from time to time. I walked away wishing I was one of those deep hipsters who already understood the hidden meanings and didn’t have to strain my brain to put together the pieces. But all-in-all, I’m not sorry I saw it and would probably watch it again.
Arbitrage was okay. It was good enough to have seen it but it should have been a made-for-TV movie. This was a typical Richard Gere flick. Even at his age, he’s still eye candy but his movies are predictable and formulaic. Still enjoyable but like I said, good for TV.
#12 This Must Be The Place
Please go see this one so you can explain to me what on earth it was supposed to be about. Sean Penn always does a role justice and he will not let you down in This Must Be The Place. However, there’s something about his character that’s not quite right, but I’m not sure what it is.
On a side note, I have a love/hate relationship with my Apple TV which is quite schizophrenic when it comes to streaming Netflix. But these are some that I watched this year from years past that if you haven’t seen, and you like the movies I liked above, you probably will enjoy. Check out Romantics Anonymous, Toast, and Billy Elliot when you get a chance.
Please share your thoughts and make some recommendations for me as well! Can’t wait to hear about your “picks!”
Today, I was honored with the task of co-directing the Amazing Cape-rs workshop for StudioSTL which is an amazing organization inspiring young writers and helping them publish their work.Until a few weeks ago, I was completely unaware of this organization but I encourage you to check it out and get involved! I was very impressed with the brilliant young writers I was fortunate enough to work with today.
The goal of the Amazing Cape-rs workshop was to get these writers to condense their superhero ideas into one symbol to be used on a cape which they got to create and take home. It was exciting to see their little wheels turning and impressive to see what they came up with!It was my job to help them understand the concept of using one simple symbol and/or letter to capture the essence of their superheros. Children have BIG imaginations so getting them to narrow that imagination down into one item was the challenge, but these kids did so well! It was clear that from prior workshop experience, they were skilled at funneling ideas and keeping their readers interested and engaged. I am in awe of Beth Ketcher, founder of StudioSTL, and all the work she has done and the progress she has made with these young people. I’m grateful that I was able to take part in this amazing caper!
Knit bombing. Yarn bombing. Yarn Graffiti. Urban Knitting. No matter what you call it, it’s downright intriguing! For the last couple of years, I’ve had my eyes peeled scanning the city for the perfect spot to tag! Trees, and benches, and bike racks, oh my! So many possibilities!This colorful fad started in Houston, Texas and has spread worldwide in just under a decade. I wanted to get this started in St. Louis and I wanted to be first! But between working, parenting, and studying, I had resolved that someone else would surely beat me to the punch. I also feared that St. Louis may not embrace this guerrilla knitting phenomenon and my work would be removed faster than I could install it. Imagine my surprise when Brandie Marsden, my stylist and owner of VVegaz in The Delmar Loop, posted on Facebook that she was looking for someone to tag the trees in front of her salon. I guess the Universe just handed me my wishes on a digital platter! I had just finished school and had plenty of time for a big project and Brandie had a permit from the city and the blessing of the Loop Special Business District Board! Yay! (You know you’re getting old when you get permits to graffiti a tree.) Nevertheless, it was an enormous project! Two trees with 10 knitable branches was a bit much for one person to bite off–especially on the first attempt. So, I enlisted 4 of my favorite friends to team up and and form the Tree Sprites! For two months, we knitted, plotted, swapped yarn, and knitted some more until finally after an all-nighter and some very tired fingers, we completed our pieces of the project and came together to install our first collective work of art!
We had so much fun working on this and we are really proud of the way it turned out. We will definitely be at it again!
Ah, Easter memories. Last year on the day before Easter, I had barely slept the night before in anticipation of heading to Ste. Genevieve, MO to shoot my very first promotional video with my own crew. Chaumette Winery had wanted to show off their facilities to brides-to-be by following a real bride through her day from the hair salon to the chapel to the reception to finally stepping over the threshold in her groom’s arms into a beautiful Chaumette villa.
What could be more romantic than sharing your nuptials with the ones you love in the midst of the rolling hills of Missouri wine country? At least that’s what I was tasked with proving.
That morning was a bit gloomy but nothing to be alarmed about, so it seemed. We arrived plenty early and set up cameras at two locations, one in the spa where we would meet the bridal party and one in the reception area.
There were several picturesque scenes outdoors where onlookers could gather and chairs could be assembled. But there was also a quaint little chapel to use in the case of inclement weather. Our beautiful bride had her heart set on marrying her beau on a tiny island in the middle of a pond connected only by a bridge to the “mainland.”
But as the morning went on, Mother Nature whispered clues of her own plans that were not necessarily in alignment with this island adventure. The sun was shining and then it wasn’t. The rain was drizzling and then it wasn’t. The wind was blowing and then it wasn’t. In the midst of trying to shoot the bridal party coiffure, I was growing more and more concerned about shooting an outdoor wedding on a day like today. Selfishly, not so much concerned about the bride’s dreams or even the winery’s goals, but about protecting my equipment from a liquid demise.
As the sun disappeared behind the black clouds that rolled in, much to my relief, the bride made the call to move the ceremony into the tiny chapel. This would mean standing room only for the large number of guests she had invited and for me it would mean sharing the tiny balcony with attendees leaving little room for camera equipment–but at least it would be dry and that was the important thing.
I left the bridal party and raced to the reception hall to collect the second set of equipment and haul it to the chapel. Maneuvering equipment up a narrow spiral staircase is a challenge in and of itself. But finding a good camera angle in a space too small for a tripod was another hurdle altogether. These, I thought, were the lessons I would take with me throughout my career. These are the things you don’t learn in school and the ones that would make me a stronger person and induct me into the professional world of videography.
But just as quickly as the clouds swept the sky, they dissipated leaving everyone hopeful once more for the scenic outdoor venue as originally planned. Throughout the rest of the afternoon, the sun was teasing us peeking in and out of clouds like a game of hide and seek. All within the same shot, it looked as though we had filmed the same bride on two different days…maybe even two different seasons. For me, it was nearly impossible to white-balance and for the bride, well, you can only imagine the stress. The raw outdoor footage looks as though someone was flickering on and off the lights with a switch. It was a bride’s (and a videographer’s) nightmare.
Finally, a decision was reached to marry outdoors in front of the chapel–just in case. The wind was picking up but the sun was shining and relatively, this was the ideal scenario. A lovely ceremony, a blissful bride, and dry equipment. Finally!
However, back at the ranch…this day in particular, my 13-year-old son was home alone while his father was working and I was two hours away at a shoot. I had received a few phone calls from him but when you’re on a shoot and your phone buzzes in your pocket right smack in the middle of the “I do’s”, you just don’t answer. When the ceremony broke and it was time for a location change, I made a quick call home to hear my terrified son on the other end of the line begging for instructions on what to do when the tornado sirens are blaring. In my 40 years on the planet, I had heard many-a-siren with no worries. So I simply told him to stay in his bedroom (on the second floor of the house no less) and assured him that tornadoes do not touch down in the city.
As the reception grew dim and my crew grew weary, we packed it up and headed for home, but we were not out of the woods yet–literally nor figuratively. About half-way there, the radio signal was interrupted with an urgent storm warning instructing people in most counties between St. Louis and Ste. Gen, MO to get off the road and take shelter. Being a city girl, with a crew of urban-dwellers, I opted to stay on the highway out of sheer exhaustion. All we wanted to do after that day was put our feet up and enjoy some of our winery “souvenirs.”
The radio interruptions did not cease and the winds were so strong I could barely stay on the road. At this point, we decided to heed the warnings and pull off the road. It was only 15 minutes and really, if this was as serious as it sounded, did we really want to risk our lives for the sake saving a little time? As we sat in the gas station parking lot trying to determine if we should move inside and out of the car, we listened intently to the automated voice on the radio warning the people of the CITY OF ST. LOUIS to take shelter immediately. My heart sank into my stomach thinking of my irresponsible instructions to my son and worse than that, my poor parenting. A mother’s guilt never ends.
As we approached home, weaving around trees and branches and other sundry items in the road, we began to realize that this was the most serious storm St. Louis city had seen in quite some time. Luckily, my husband worked close to home and was able to break away in time to help my son take appropriate shelter. For this was the day that I now remember as the day the tornado took out Lambert Airport four miles from my front door rather than the day I shot my first promotional video.
In the end, I’m pleased with the footage we were able to recover from this disastrous day. Enjoy this 30 second snippet!